Safaricom Plc, Kenya’s biggest mobile operator, expects its next chief executive to have strategic power mergers & acquisitions (M&A) skills and a deep understanding of the financial services sector. To offer the telco opportunities to expand and solidify their businesses in the new economy.
According to The Africa Report in an exclusive interview with the telco’s outgoing chief executive Bob Collymore, says “I have never been a good mergers and acquisitions person, but we will need someone who can spot a deal and grab it. [We need] someone who understands the financial sector a lot more, if we are to occupy the fintech space, and someone who is not going to be scared of going into other markets.”
Collymore justifies by stating that the telco’s real competition is not with the Airtel – Telkom merger but will emerge from ‘the big tech firms’, Amazon, Google, Facebook, and the Chinese firm Tencent.
“We don’t get complacent about these things,” says Collymore. “For sure, we believe we need to evolve, and quickly. The thing that we have today was designed 11 years ago.”
Bob Collymore, is set to retire as Safaricom CEO in August 2019.
Michael Joseph who successfully headed Safaricom from 2000 to 2010, as the telco marked 18 years in 2018, he said to get his successor, “I pushed for Bob to be on that list. Bob understood the DNA of Safaricom. He understood what we are about. We were more than a mobile company. We were part of people’s lives and I knew he would continue with the company’s legacy.”
The telco recorded a 20.2% growth in net profit to Ksh 31.5 billion for the six months ended September 30 (2018/2019) on the back of a strong performance in mobile money M-Pesa and data.
M-PESA was the main driver of growth for the period, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the 7.7% point increase, and growing 18.2% YoY. M-PESA now accounts for 30.0% of service revenue, ‘indicating the resilience in our business model vis a vis a traditional telco’ noted Safaricom chief financial officer Sateesh Kamath.